Dubai / WAM
The National Committee for the Year of Giving held a press conference on Monday to highlight the local initiatives and programmes that have been launched in order to consolidate the culture of giving and goodness generosity throughout the UAE.
The initiatives focus on instilling the culture of giving in across various communities, individuals and institutions, including the public and private sectors.
More than 1,400 initiatives have been launched, engaging both private and public sector entities, and targeting various segments of society in the UAE.
These initiatives aim to realise the mission behind the Year of Giving 2017, which was launched by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and supported by UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who urged people to develop sustainable humanitarian initiatives, within a the agreed regulatory framework, that can have a positive impact on various communities in the state.
The Year of Giving includes six main pillars, which are Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Volunteerism, the growth of Humanitarian Organisations and the Development Sector, the Role of the Media, the Development of a Legislative System, and Serving the Nation.
The initiatives also fall under the umbrella of the UAE National Strategy for the Year of Giving, which constitutes an integrated package of programmes and projects that aim to improve various aspects of humanitarian and charity work in each Emirate in the UAE.
The press conference was attended by Mohammed Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future and the Chairman of the National Committee for the Year of Giving; Sheikh Khalifa bin Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Director of The Martyrs’ Families’ Affairs Office at the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court; Dr. Ahmed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Secretary-General of the Executive Council of Abu Dhabi; Abdulla Abdul Rahman Al Shaibani, Secretary-General of the Executive Council of Dubai; Mohamed Hilal, Deputy Chairman of the Year of Giving committee in Sharjah; Saeed Saif Al Matrooshi, Secretary-General of the Executive Council of Ajman; Dr. Mohammed Abdul Latif Khalifa, Secretary-General of the Executive Council of Ras al-Khaimah; Humaid Rashed Al Shamsi, Secretary-General of the Executive Council of Umm al-Qaiwain, and Mohammed Saeed Al Dhanhani, Director of the Emiri Diwan of Fujairah.
It was emphasised that all initiatives are dedicated to the UAE’s fallen heroes; those who sacrificed their lives for their homeland; they are the finest and most genuine givers of goodness, who uphold the status of the UAE and represent the country’s unity, cohesion and solidarity.
Al Gergawi noted, “The sacrifice of the martyrs is a clear message to us all that the selfless devotion to our national cause is the ultimate act of giving.” He continued, “Their example inspires us, and in every generous deed we remember them.”
Sheikh Khalifa bin Tahnoun, said, “In mourning our fallen, we come together as a nation as their sacrifices remind us of our humanity and the importance of unity in our communities throughout the UAE. We come together to celebrate the spirit of giving, inspired by their example of selfless devotion to the nation.”
Their heroism remains embedded in the people’s hearts, and their stories remain fresh in the minds of the communities, passed between generations and engrained in the nation’s journey.
Al Gergawi, Chairman of the National Committee for the Year of Giving, stated that local initiatives are an addition to the initiatives that have been launched on a nation-wide level, within the committee’s strategic objectives, that seek to establish the UAE as a humanitarian leader locally, regionally and globally. The initiatives also seek to regulate humanitarian work within a legislative framework, so that philanthropy becomes a tangible goal that is measurable in accordance with the overall vision and mission of the Year of Giving, he added.
He stated, “On the one hand, the local initiatives meet the requirements of each Emirate, but on the other, they complement one another as they embrace a common goal, under a holistic framework for giving. The initiatives prove that each Emirate enriches the Year of Giving in its own way, and that together, we achieve a wider reach and more benefits, building a fruitful and productive correlation between the various sectors, and contributing to the laying the foundation for integrated giving that takes into the account the needs of each community.”
The Year of Giving is dedicated to UAE’s fallen heroes, Al Gergawi reiterated, addeing that the “the sacrifice of the martyrs is a clear message to us all that the selfless devotion to our national cause is the ultimate act of giving.” He continued, “Their example inspires us, and in every generous deed with remember them.”
Representatives from the Year of Giving executive boards of each of the seven Emirates shared their local initiatives, with a specific timeframe, specific goals and expected results.
The government of Abu Dhabi prepared 247 initiatives that effectively fall under the six major pillars of the Year of Giving, covering various aspects of humanitarian work in several sectors of the local community.
Dr. Al Mazrouei, Secretary-General of the Executive Council of Abu Dhabi said, “The Abu Dhabi government is keen to contribute actively to the Year of Giving with initiatives that promote and spread humanity throughout the UAE and the world.” He continued, “Humanitarianism has always been a cherished value in the UAE, which has established a philanthropic identity that spreads beyond its borders, and supports those in need, regardless of race, colour or nationality.”
One of the main Year of Giving initiatives from the Abu Dhabi government is titled “Spreading a Culture of Volunteerism”. The initiative is an awareness campaign, which seeks to spread the culture of volunteerism throughout the emirate. Educational programmes and awareness campaigns will be launched, with the objective of establishing a culture of volunteering, an essential pillar in overall social development and social cohesion, in the community.
All government, quasi-government and private sector institutions are urged to participate by appealing to their employees and offering them volunteer opportunities to help those in need, including people with disabilities, orphans, the elderly, and hospitalised patients.
Another initiative is titled “Goodness is in You – Support those in Need”, is the initiative aimed at providing a helping hand to the needy, including to low-income families, workers, students and other social groups, through the provision of services and assistance from various staff members in a selection of institutions in Abu Dhabi.
Another initiative titled “Good is in You – Support the Underprivileged” includes offering of support to helping those who are less prone and reluctant to show that they need help.
“Goodness is in our Children” is an initiative that aims to promote the sense of responsibility, which will inadvertently enhance the sense of belonging, in younger people.
Another initiative from Abu Dhabi is titled “Everyone is Responsible”, and focuses on instilling the value of social responsibility through the dissemination of ‘giving’ policies in the public and private sectors, working to achieve a framework for institutional partnership between the two.
“Reach Out” is an initiative, which focusses on the effective contributions of Abu Dhabi institutions toward developing the role of humanitarian organisations, determining the specific needs of the groups targeted by those organisations, and helping in achieving maximum efficiency.
Finally, the initiative titled “Media and the Year of Giving Initiatives in Abu Dhabi” will support all other initiatives and objectives for the Year of Giving in Abu Dhabi by dedicating coverage that promotes the culture of giving, targeting specific audiences , and disseminating messages and principles with stories and information benefiting the community as a whole.
While Dubai announced at the press conference a total of 375 initiatives, to be carried out by several entities in the emirates in both the public and private sectors, in order to achieve the desired objectives of the Year of Giving.
The Secretary-General of the Executive Council of Dubai said, “The spirit of philanthropy has always been alive in the UAE; this year, our goal is to strengthen this value in order to contribute to the sustainable development of our nation.”
Some of the initiatives launched under the Year of Giving in Dubai include the “Medical Assistance Programme”, a programme designed to assist patients in need, which includes 49 pharmaceutical programmes, and will be launched in collaboration with private-sector companies, charities and donors.
The programme aims to provide aid, under the advise of the Heath Authority, to patients in need, regardless of their nationalities. The programme aims to provide assistance to 3,000 chronic and critical patients in 2017, with a total contribution in medical aid of up to AED 265 million.
Another initiative from Dubai is titled “Magistrate for Good”, which is an initiative that aims to reconcile families outside of court. The initiative will recreate a domestic environment where couples can discuss their family issues, children can be supported, and families can work towards positive reconciliation.
The “Participating for Good” initiative will address the CSR pillar by creating a CSR Index, a measuring tool to assess CSR by number of participants and financial donations, in harmony with the federal index. The initiative aims to achieve 30% of the index in 2017, and the remaining in 2018.
Another initiative from Dubai is titled “Good Giving”, and is a community-based initiative that operates within an integrated programme, leveraging the role of the private sector (under the CSR pillar) in contributions to community development projects. Community development projects include services that support people with disabilities, the elderly and children, education, speech and language clinics, and consultation centre programmes (in cooperation with 280 service centres in Dubai).
The “Best Volunteer” initiatives aims to enhance Dubai’s philanthropy sector by developing a database that registers volunteers in the public and private sectors, gives volunteers a chance to coordinate, and calculates the financial value of volunteering.
The “Consult” initiative will also be launched, in coordination with Dubai courts and law firms, in order to enhance the community’s trust in the judicial system through pro bono work, providing legal advice to low-income individuals. The initiative aims to provide free legal council counsel to 1000 people, estimated at the cost of AED 3 million, via 81 law firms based in Dubai.
Lastly, “AED for Good” is an initiative, in collaboration with the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), that gives all users an option to donate one dirham upon completing any RTA-related transaction. All proceeds will go toward development projects, in the transportation and infrastructure sectors, in underdeveloped countries.
Sharjah announced 56 new initiatives for the Year of Giving, all of which seek to entrench the value of giving deeper in the culture, and to engage public and private sector institutions and members of the community.
The Deputy Chairman of the Year of Giving committee in Sharjah, said, “Sharjah is a forerunner in humanitarianism, and under the UAE’s wise leadership, and we will continue to be pioneers in philanthropy, in various fields and places, and work to achieve the objectives of the Year of Giving. Goodness and tolerance are critical in the pursuit of humanity, and the Year of Giving gives us the opportunity to engage more people in contributing to the community.”
Among the initiatives introduced by Sharjah is the “Old Homes Maintenance”, an initiative that invites volunteers from the public and private sectors to help maintain old homes in the Emirate.
“Dedicating Time” is another initiative, which includes creating a legislation that allows employees to dedicate a specific amount of time toward a cause, and that is considered during employee annual evaluations.
“The Volunteer Forum” will also be introduced, inviting the most prominent local and regional figured to attend and share their humanitarian experiences and knowledge.
Among others, the initiative “Charitable Exhibitions” will be introduced; a special exhibition will take place, whereby exclusive products and goods will be sold, and where all proceeds will go to charity.
Ajman introduced 113 initiatives, distributed among various areas and communities, in order to achieve the objectives of the Year of Giving.
Secretary-General of the Executive Council of Ajman said, “The Year of Giving is a testament to the seeds sown by Sheikh Zayed; instilling goodness deeper in our culture has become a national mission. We are happy to do our part to improve our people’s standard of living while simultaneously contributing to the sustainable development of the nation.”
He added, “In line with Ajman Vision 2021, which is based on the idea of creating a happy society, we are keen to instill a culture of giving that does not discriminate or exclude anyone, by implementing a range of initiatives that promote goodness and generosity.”
Some initiatives that will be introduced in Ajman include “The Giving Duty”, an initiative that invites volunteers to help the elderly, in collaboration with government institutions.
Other initiatives will be initiated in the education realm sector, including the “CSR Diploma”, a professional diploma in the field of Corporate Social responsibility, which will be offered for the first time in the 2017/18 academic year to all students at Ajman University. Another initiative in this realm is titled the “Education Fund”, and will offer students help and support with tuition fees.
Another initiative is titled “Positive Leaders”, and includes enlisting 12 male and female Ajman government employees in a programme in line with Ajman Vision 2021, that aims to create positive leaders that can improve their positivity and leadership skills.
Furthermore, Ajman will develop ‘green economy’ policies in order to attract economic investments that take into account the principles of environmental sustainability and community development. As such, the “Ajman Award for Social Responsibility” will be introduced.
In Ras Aal -Khaimah, Dr. Mohammed Abdul Latif Khalifa, Secretary-General of the Executive Council of Ras Aal -Khaimah, said “Ras al-Khaimah has adopted a wide range of initiatives and events that reflect the generous spirit of the UAE, and support the strategic objectives of the Year of Giving.”
He added, “In order to ensure the participation of all sectors of society, including education, health, tourism, banking and the non-profit sector, 337 initiatives will be introduced over the strategic, institutional and local levels.”
A highlight from the initiatives includes the “Family Stability Initiative”, an initiative aimed at speeding up the residential distribution in the al-Riffa area, in less than three months, in order to achieve social stability for all citizens.
The initiatives also include introducing the “RAK Shopping Festival for Charity”, where organisations will be invited to offer 1000 discounted services for low-income citizens and residents over an entire week.
The “Innovation Centre for Good” will also be launched, and will conduct studies and host brainstorming sessions to promote the developmental role of charities, as well as the development of CSR, through the provision of innovative methods and business models featured in this field.
The “Construction and Maintenance of Facilities” initiative will also be launched, and will include establishing and maintaining facilities for mental health patients; this initiative aims to support the Obaidullah Hospital’s efforts to improve mental health care, and to promote positive community partnership in this regard. This initiative also aims to set up a sewing facilities to train inmates in penal and correctional institutions in Ras Aal -Khaimah, teaching them a new skill and providing them with the necessary hardware and equipment to do so.
Under the umbrella of this initiatives is also a mission to work on maintenance of mosques, as well as supporting the autism centre by providing the necessary equipment and devices for the facility.
Another initiative is called the “Giving for Development” initiative, and includes donating 15 laptops, based on their needs, to university and college students from low-income families. It also includes upcycling hotel furniture, and giving them to low-income families, and opening a bazaar to display and sell goods by Ras Aal -Khaimah workers.
Under the “Giving for Development” initiative is also an initiative programme to develop an electronic education encyclopaedia, in cooperation with the Ras Aal -Khaimah Education District, as well as to introduce new education methods and make them available to students for free.
In addition, a “Wishes” initiative will be introduced, where a list of wishes by underprivileged students will be shared, and community members will be encouraged to make wishes from the list come true. An initiative to create a “Wedding for Low-Income Communities” will also be organised for the community.
“Social Excellence” initiative will be launched, and will include several measurable categories that can be used to assess and honour outstanding efforts in giving and serving the nation. The categories will include awards at the institutional level for excellence in giving initiatives, as well as at the individual level for outstanding volunteers.
Secretary-General of the Executive Council of Umm al-Qaiwain said, “The spirit of giving is engraved in the hearts of Emiratis, who spare no effort in assisting those in need.” He added that, “All initiatives from Umm al-Qaiwain are launched under the directives of H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Rashid Al Mu’alla, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Umm Al Qaiwain. They seek to strengthen the role of the community in order to achieve the goals for the Year of Giving.”
The Umm al-Qaiwain government announced 90 initiatives that promote goodness in the state. Among these initiatives is the “Youth Volunteer Programme”, a weekly or monthly agenda that provides youth an opportunity to volunteer to help hospitalised elderly patients. Under this umbrella is another initiative titled the “Good Services” initiative, which provides vehicles for young members of the community to transport people with physical disabilities or the elderly to parks, shopping centres, and other recreational facilities. This initiative also includes the restoration and maintenance of vital facilities, such as parks and playgrounds, in the Emirate.
Another initiative, “Goodness Discounts”, will be launched by businessman Abdullah bin Hamid, in collaboration with the Department of Economic Development, includes the provision of discounts at affiliated malls in Umm al-Qaiwain, as well as “Charity Trips”, in collaboration with Abdulalh bin Hamid stores, for people from low-income households.
In Fujairah, the local committee for the Year of Giving approved 188 initiatives that aim to serve the local community, and that reflect the goals of the Year of Giving.
Director of the Emiri Diwan of Fujairah and Chairman of the local committee for the Year of Giving said, “The value of giving has been passed through generations in the UAE, who share a strong sense of responsibility. The local committee for The Year of Giving in Fujairah has developed a comprehensive action plan that aims to contribute to the efforts to achieve the goals for the Year of Giving.”
He continued, “We will organise weekly and monthly meetings in order to follow up on the initiatives, stressing the importance of consolidating the spirit of volunteerism through special programmes that allow volunteers to provide a valuable service to the people.”
Some of the initiatives from Fujairah include “Giving Hands Green Environment”, an environmental initiative that urges university students to volunteer in activities such as cleaning parks and beaches, planting trees, and more.
Another initiative is “Restoring old houses for the underprivileged, which aims to restore old houses for widows and people of low-income families.
“Seekers of Knowledge” is another initiative, which includes partnerships between private sectors educational institutions, Ajman University – Fujairah Branch, and the University of Fujairah so that the private sector institutions may provide tuition for outstanding students from low-income families.
The “Volunteer in Fujairah” initiative will also be launched, and will focus on providing people with volunteer opportunities. The initiative will engage government staff in volunteering activities, and instill in them the value of volunteering through open discussions and workshops. A database will also be created for skills-based volunteers, in collaboration with government employees who have been trained in various fields, and will use the data to create skills-based volunteer teams.